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 September 24th, 2009  
St. Lucie County, Florida, Sheriff Mascara prepared to help cash-strapped Illinois Sheriff’s Department
St. Lucie County, Florida, Sheriff Mascara prepared to help cash-strapped Illinois Sheriff’s Department

Responding to a nationwide request for assistance by a cash-strapped southern Illinois, St. Lucie County, Fla., Sheriff Ken J. Mascara said today he is prepared to help.

“Alexander County, Ill., Sheriff David Barkett, has had his budget reduced by 75 percent,” Sheriff Mascara said, “and the Alexander County Commission has not been able to keep up the payments on five squad cars for the Sheriff’s Department. A bank has repossessed the cars.”

Sheriff Mascara learned about these problems from the Florida Sheriff’s Association.

“In 2004, St. Lucie County was the epicenter of three devastating weather events: Hurricanes Frances, Jeanne and Tropical Storm Wilma,” Sheriff Mascara said. “The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and our community were the benefactors of an outpouring of support from across the country. Now that a fellow Sheriff finds himself in a time of need, I believe it is appropriate to offer assistance.

“Public safety is perhaps the most important service government can provide to its citizens. Without it, a community would cease to exist. In these trying economic times, public safety is more important than ever,” Sheriff Mascara said. “As a Sheriff, I know the responsibilities and daunting tasks faced by a fellow Sheriff. Because I know how important vehicles are to the operations of a Sheriff’s Office, I felt compelled to offer assistance to Sheriff Barkett in his hour of need.

“Although I am somewhat surprised and disappointed that others closer than South Florida to Alexander County, Ill., have not stepped forward to help at this time, I want to help,” Sheriff Mascara said. “I have informed the Alexander County, Ill., Sheriff’s Department that I am prepared to donate five high-mileage, out-of-commission vehicles to that department.”

Sheriff Mascara said that the high mileage on those five cars renders them unsuitable for use by the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. “If we auctioned these vehicles, we could expect to receive no more than $3,500 to $4,000 after deducting selling expenses.”

The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office will install out-of-use light bars on the donated cars. “We use newer, lighter, more efficient light bars on our squad cars than the light bars we are donating,” said Sheriff Mascara.

“It is my understanding that Sheriff Barkett is conferring with state officials to try to deal with funding issues,” Sheriff Mascara said. “In the meantime, we are prepared to help.”

Sheriff Mascara said, “Though the vehicles I am providing to Sheriff Barkett would fetch only a small amount if sold on the open market, I know these vehicles will be priceless to Sheriff Barkett and the people of Alexander County, Ill., to help their Sheriff’s Department operate effectively.”

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